L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Be secure & safe this Divali
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Every year, number of burn cases has been increasing at an alarming rate during the Divali season. One needs to be more cautious while bursting crackers to avoid any accident, say experts.

Dr Sanjeev Uppal, professor and head of plastic surgery at DMCH, said,'' Anaars and rockets are dangerous and children should ignite these crackers with safety. All accidents due to fireworks occur as a result of carelessness, negligence and ignorance. But these can certainly be avoided by taking some precautions.” He said, "Negligence on the part of kids can lead to mishap or personal damage. All of us enjoy the festival of light and sound but one has to take care.

While a city-based eye surgeon Dr GS Dhami said, "We have to be careful while watching and burning crackers. Most common injuries occur by crackers that burn in the sky. Those burning crackers at the roof top also need to be careful as accidents may occur. If there is an injury, one should not wash eyes immediately as the extent of injury is not known. First, the extent of injury should be evaluated by an eye specialist so that the eye is not damaged further.

Take care

  • Burst crackers in presence of elders
  • Wear tight fitting cotton clothes
  • Keep a bucket full of water nearby
  • Burn crackers in open space
  • Always keep rockets in a relatively big sized heavy bottle and the tip should face upwards.
  • Anaars should be lit with a sparkle (phuljhari) sitting parallel on the floor
  • Never explode crackers in hand.
  • Store crackers in a metal container with a lid on.
  • Never try to explode crackers with empty cans over it.
  • Always keep sparkles away from body.
  • Purchase good quality crackers with ISI certification.
  • In case of fire, douse the flames and if alone lie down on ground and roll sideways.
  • Pour water on the burnt surface


Field Ganj a virtual hell
Waterlogging problem acute in the area as MC looks the other way
Kuldip Bhatia

Dirty water overflows on to a street in a residential area of Field Ganj in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 11
Dirty water overflowing from choked sewerage lines and back flow of the Ganda nullah (open drain) in the Field Ganj locality has made life hell for area residents. The problem of waterlogging and threat of outbreak of diseases is further compounded due to indifference on the part of civic administration, which has not paid any heed to the complaints of the affected people.

While most of the thickly populated lanes (kuchas) in Field Ganj are prone to waterlogging due to the fact that the level of the main road as well as the open drain flowing from Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran along the residential localities is higher in comparison to the lanes, the problem is more acute in Kucha No 5 and 7 where people have to wade through anything from 6 inches to a feet and half of stagnating dirty water.

"We are living in hell. Every time we venture out, or come back home, we have to walk through dirty water which is a mix of backflow from open drain and overflow from choked sewer lines," said Balwinder Kaur, a resident.

Another resident of Kucha No 7, requesting anonymity, said repeated representations to the area councillor and officials of the Municipal Corporation for remedial action have fallen on deaf ears. "The MC officials have become completely oblivious to the pathetic plight of the residents who are at all times exposed to the grave risk of water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases. We have been left to fend for ourselves," he remarked in a helpless manner.

Admitting that the problem of water logging was acute in at least two lanes (Kucha 5 and 7), the area councillor, Rakesh Parashar of Congress, termed it an unfortunate mixture of temporary and permanent problems.

"Due to the ongoing work for covering the nullah (open drain) from the Shingar Cinema Road to Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran, the flow of the drain has been diverted at some places, which is obstructing the free flow of water, and it accumulates in the residential localities lying along. This is, however, a temporary problem and once the work for covering the drain is completed, the backflow from the nullah will no longer be there," the councillor said.

He said in a bid to find a permanent solution to this problem, it was proposed to raise the level of the worst affected streets. A project for raising the street level was envisaged some two year ago at an estimated cost of Rs 18 lakh. But for various reasons, the work could not commence on the project till now.

Parashar said, the MC authorities had (citing a policy decision) refused to go by the estimate of the project which was prepared long ago.

Lanes 5, 7 most affected

The thickly populated lanes (kuchas) of Field Ganj are prone to water logging as the level of the main road and the open drain flowing from Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran along the residential localities is higher in comparison to the lanes.The problem is more acute in Kucha No 5 and 7. Residents are exposed to grave risk of water-borne diseases.

We are living in hell. Every time we venture out, or come back home, we have to walk through dirty water, which is a mix of backflow from open drain and overflow from choked sewer lines.

— Balwinder Kaur, resident

We have sought consolidated lists of all pending works from the councillors. After the constitution of Finance and Contracts Committee, all proposals will be cleared and work will be done on a priority basis.

— Kamlesh Bansal, MC Zonal Commissioner, Ludhiana



After smog, crackers to add to pollution
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 11
Thick blanket of smog has engulfed the city, thanks to the continuous burning of paddy straw in the open fields by farmers. Though the NGOs and social organisations have been appealing to celebrate green Divali (without crackers) this time, but it is believed that in the next few days, the pollution levels are expected to rise further as the bursting of crackers will add to the problem.

An official with the Punjab Pollution Control Board here, on condition of anonymity said that neither had the department any powers nor the mechanism to check the quality of crackers, being sold in the market. "This is the duty of either the district administration or the police department to keep a check on the quality of crackers, as to what levels they will generate the noise or air pollution. We just check the ambient quality in the environment", said the official. When asked whether in the past years, the department had registered any case against the defaulters, the official said, "We serve them warnings but no action has been taken".

Pradeep Kumar, president of Patakha Dealer Association, Ludhiana, when asked whether any official from the district administration, police department or the PPCB came to check the quality of the crackers, Kumar said that till date no such attempt was made. "We are not even aware of this", he said.

With virtually no check on pollution-levels generated through different kinds of crackers by the law enforcing agencies, the crackers were also being openly sold at congested places and markets, including Field Ganj, Chaura Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi etc by putting up small stalls. It is unfortunate that neither the district administration, PPCB nor the police department has taken any fruitful initiative to control the pollution levels in the city, though they have been "generating awareness" by making appeals to the masses or distributing pamphlets.

Police says

It is written on the good quality crackers that they do not generate higher levels of noise or air pollution. Residents should buy good quality crackers for their wards. Besides, we have distributed pamphlets among masses to generate awareness.~

— S Bhupaty, Deputy Commissioner Police

Official speaKS

There are no particular directions to check the pollution-levels of crackers. We have been making appeals to masses and educational institutions to ask children to celebrate green Divali.

— Neeru Katyal, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General)



Good news: Medical care to be available on trains soon
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 11
In wake of the long pending demand of the rail passengers for emergency medical services on board the trains, the railway authorities are said to have mooted a proposal to provide the facility, and once the policy decision is taken at the top level in the Union Railway Ministry, the plan will be put be into effect.

Instances of medical emergencies occurring during rail travel, especially on trains running on long routes, are not uncommon, and at times, people suffering from some acute problem while travelling have to be boarded off the train at the nearest railway station for treatment. In such cases, the passengers always run the risk of getting medical care "too late", and at times, the delay can prove fatal.

It was only last week that an elderly person travelling from New Delhi to Chandigarh by Shatabdi Express, suffered a heart attack during his train journey, and in the absence of medical care, he died by the time the train reached the Chandigarh railway station.

Senior railway officials said, deploying a doctor on board all the trains was impractical for the simple reason that railway did not have that kind of resources to have that many doctors on the rolls. "However, it is also a matter of record that quite a few doctors frequently travel by trains, especially elite trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani as well as other mail and express trains," the officials said while adding that the Railways had decided to avail the services of the travelling doctors for medical emergencies.

Although the proposal is in still in the initial planning stage, and final modalities will be known only after its execution, the officials said the Railway would allow travel concession to qualified doctors intending to travel by trains, and in return they would have to give their consent to provide emergency medical care to other co-passengers in the same train if required.

In order to provide this facility, a separate reservation chart of doctors travelling by that particular train, with their mobile numbers, will be prepared so that they can be contacted in cases of medical emergencies. "The railway authorities will make adequate provisions of having medical kits on all long route trains to make this facility fully operational," added the railway officials.

Dr Manoj Sobti, president of Punjab state branch of the Indian Medical Association, termed it a welcome proposal that would go a long way in saving precious human lives. "One comes across such cases when a rail traveller suffers from some acute problem, and more often cardiac conditions, which need immediate medical attention. By tending to medical emergencies during rail travel, the medical fraternity will render a huge service to the humanity," he remarked.



Stamps on Divali, Hanukkah a hit with philatelists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Postage stamps on Divali released by the postal department are being liked by philatelists in the city. While one postage stamp is on Divali, whereas, another stamp is dedicated to a festival called Hanukkah, celebrated in Israel. The stamps have been released to mark the completion of 20 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.

Like diyas of Divali, the Hanukkah candles symbolise the triumph of good over evil and the victory of justice over injustice.

Both Divali and Hanukkah are festivals of lights. Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the second century BC. It is said that Maccabees found pure oil, enough to light the temple menorah for a single day, but this oil miraculously lasted for eight days, until more oil could be prepared.

The festival is celebrated for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev, according to the Hebrew calendar. Candles are lit on windows or doorways on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. The candles are lit in a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched menorah or Hanukiah and one additional light is added on each night of the holiday progressing to eight on the final night.

"Divali is my favourite festival, and I am elated to find the stamp on the festival. I didn't know about Hanukkah, it is interesting to know that such a festival of lights is celebrated in Israel as well," says Kunwar, a philatelist.



MVI sent to judicial remand
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
In a major disappointment to the city police, Motor Vehicle Inspector (MVI) Rakesh Kumar Gupta, who was reportedly apprehended from the Bharat Nagar Chowk area by the Model Town police, has been sent to judicial remand by the local court here today. The Model Town police produced Gupta before the court of Judicial Magistrate Ekta Sahota and demanded police remand for the accused.

Visibly disappointed Ashok Kumar SHO Model Town said, "We failed to get police remand."

The judicial remand of Gupta could bring relief to DSP Gurcharan Singh.

It was the then DSP Gurcharan Singh, who had conducted a vigilance raid at the house of MVI Rakesh Gupta two month ago. But, the DSP, too, got embroiled in controversy as he allegedly provided secret information to Gupta and took Rs 25 lakh in lieu of providing him the action plan of the department. Gurcharan was suspended and later arrested by the police. At present, he is in jail for the offence. Police sources said that more information could have been gathered about DSP Gurharan Singh's involvement in the case if the police remand of MVI Gupta was granted.

However, the trouble is not yet over for Gupta. Sources said that vigilance bureau would approach the court to seek the police remand for the MVI's involvement in graft case. The vigilance sleuths had recovered Rs 35 lakh, 1.3 kg of opium,

Indira Vikas Patra for Rs 5 lakh and property documents worth several crores from MVI Rakesh Gupta's house at Model Town Extension on July 18.

Gupta had reportedly issued no objection certificate (NOC) to a vehicle that had hit a school student who later died.



3 Mohali residents die in accident
Our Correspondent

Samrala, November 11
Three Mohali residents, including a woman, were killed in a road accident today. The incident took place when a black Maruti Alto car collided with a Tata Safari near Kubbe village. The collusion was so strong that the driver of the Alto car died on the spot, while two others, including a woman, were severely injured. They were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Samrala. Later, they were referred to Ludhiana but the duo succumbed to injuries on their way to the hospital in Ludhiana.

The deceased have been identified as Satinderveer Singh Bhatia (60), a resident of Phase 11, Mohali, Harminder Kaur Bhatia (58), wife of Satinderveer Singh, and Shamsher Singh, a close relative of the couple. The occupants of the Tata Safari managed to escape. The police has impounded the SUV and registered a case under Section 304 A of the IPC . JS Cheema, DSP, Samrala, said the accused would soon be nabbed.



Reporters' Diary
Celebrating festivals in style

Ludhianvis don't mind spending during festive season. The spirit of the festival in the city is unmatched. Gift exchanging is a special custom and everybody wants to outdo each other in the custom. Mad rush is witnessed in markets and the police is always on its toes to manage the same. Hats-off to Ludhianvis who are full of life and celebrate every festival in style.

Residents are just unpredictable!

Seeing so much "show-off" culture in the city, a bunch of friends decided not to exchange Divali gifts this time. "It is simply becoming too much," said a friend while the other said, "The festivals, no longer are celebrated in traditional style, let's stop all the show-off culture". While one friend dropped in at another friend's place with a gift and said, "Please accept this. Though I was the one who wanted that the formalities must be stopped, but when others come with gifts, you have to return these as well. Let us not become too fussy". The host had no answer to the statement made by the friend!

Pollution puts off foreigners

Austrian tourists staying at a hotel in Bhadaur House were not happy at having arrived to the city. "There is so much pollution in Ludhiana and the traffic is totally chaotic,” said Stefen. “I am surprised that there are hardly any waste-baskets or bins. I wanted to throw a waste packet, and kept it with myself for a few hours while walking, where I could find one roadside waste bin. Even that was full and the garbage was coming out of it,” he said.

Chaos on city roads

With Divali nearing, there is mad rush of shoppers in all commercial hubs and markets all over the city. The chaos prevailing on city roads even in routine, has assumed alarming proportions due to rush of festival shopping. Almost every busy market is experiencing extended traffic jams, there is no space for parking of vehicles, and to make the matters worse, the civic administration has closed its eyes to temporary encroachments along the roads and even footpaths. The traffic police also seems to be at their wits' end and the clueless traffic policemen are finding it hard to regulate traffic and deal with those who park their vehicles in a haphazard manner.

Lost childhood

A majority of parents as well as teachers love to see children dressed as various characters during fancy-dress competitions. But no one realises the fact that these dresses might irritate children. They find it difficult to keep waiting for their turn in such attire. Moreover, these shows add to the burden of parents.?

Contributed by Manav Mander, Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Gurvinder Singh and Anupam Bhagria



Youngsters spoilt for choice
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Brand-loyalty for mobile phones reigned supreme a few years ago. In addition, new "creeds" of followers for mobile phone operating system (OS) are fast emerging, because of the rapidly increasing use of smartphones among the city youth.

Youngsters have started following and adopting different mobile operating systems like fanatics.

"Choosing an operating system depends a lot on the liking and the requirements of individuals. A lot of people choose android for its flexibility and free apps, Apple iOS for its excellent functioning, Blackberry OS for its ease of use and great Blackberry messenger service, Windows phone for its clean user-interface and user friendliness," says Reetinder from a mobile showroom. "But these are only tentative factors for deciding to choose an OS, as a lot of other factors influence these decisions and individual preferences," he adds.

Apart from the personal preferences and likings for different features, rapid innovation by these operating systems builds on the number of users of these operating systems. "There is hard competition among the OSs to outdo the other in innovation and gain maximum number of users," says Reetinder. "All mobile phone operating systems have unique features," he says.

It is the rapidly changing mobile phone software that keeps the users sticking to what they are comfortable and familiar with. "Because the pace of innovation of the operating systems is so fast, that just as a person gets the hang of using a version of OS properly, a new version arrives," says Harpreet, a student. "And shifting from one mobile platform to another is even longer learning curve," he says.

Some youngsters have started keeping more than one phones to utilise the best features of different operating systems. "I feel the need to keep more phones as all provide some unique features or the other," says Ankit, a student. "I keep a Blackberry because I am part of a lot of BBM groups and its physical keyboard. I also have an android for its excellent internet browsing experience," he says.

Kirti, an MBA student, also keeps two phones from different platforms. "I just like the office documents features of the Windows phone and excellent features of iOS," she says.



Bouncers a status symbol for Ludhiana industrialists
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Ludhianvis seem to have found a new status symbol. Moving in police security has become a thing of the past. The rich but not-so-famous Ludhianvis have found a novel way of "stepping into the shoes" of VIPs by keeping bouncers for personal security. Most of these bouncers wear safari suits and sunglasses, a reminiscent of the Special Protection Group accompanying VVIPs.

The trend started after the police began "clipping the wings" of people who were keeping police personnel as a status symbol.

Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh recently withdrew “excess” police personnel deployed with not-so-important persons following orders of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal. The staff was deployed on field duty to strengthen security in the city.

Gurpreet Singh, a former kabaddi player who commutes from Mullanpur, works as a bodyguard with one such industrialist.

“All this is being done to make an impression. My boss has a tendency to make his presence felt. He has kept eight bodyguards and all of them have been given safari suits and aviator sunglasses. Two cars escort him as pilot vehicles and wherever the cavalcade stops, we alight from the vehicle and open the door for him. There are clear guidelines that he wants to be in focus,” said Gurpreet Singh.

An industrialist said keeping private security personnel was cheap. “They come in the morning and return in the evening. On the other hand, you have to make arrangements for board and lodging of police personnel, which burns a hole in your pocket,” said the industrialist.

Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh said, “Similar trend is prevalent in Haryana. I will look into the matter.”

A police official said the new trend would lessen the burden on the police. Earlier, industrialists and "power-hungry politicians" used to make a beeline outside the office of Commissioner for seeking police personnel for personnel security.



Shining silver bowls over buyers
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
During Divali one has a plethora of choices when it comes to gifts, but one segment which continues to attract the crowd is silver. Silver artifacts undoubtedly remain a hot favourite when it comes to gifting during Divali.

One can choose from a variety of options available, either an idol of Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, Ram darbar or simply a vase, photo frame, mirrors and numerous other options are available in the market.

“Silver antique has gained immense popularity owing to the uniqueness and distinctive looks. The brilliant silver artifacts can be given rustic antique finish to impart a traditional charm to these,” said a jeweller from College Road.

The antique silver articles look stunning owing to their uniqueness in designs and styles. “I prefer the one available in oxidised forms of silver. This is one gift which is liked by everybody,” said Deepali Mehta, a businesswoman.

Highly sought-after by buyers, the antique silver items have truly revived the ancient art harmoniously blending antique and contemporary designs. Glorifying the ethnic designs of the past, attractive silver items are finished with antique polish that totally emphasises the period art. "Not only in India but they have a huge market overseas as well and are exported world," added another jeweller Ramesh Verma from Ghumar Mandi.

How to wash silver

Since it is a soft metal, silver is prone to scratch marks. Wash pieces individually and never use abrasive cleaners, stainless steel, or a toothbrush to clean silver. Silver should be washed with mild liquid detergent and warm water and then dried thoroughly to prevent water spots. Silver should never remain wet or even damp, as this will hasten the tarnishing process. Modern silverware can be washed in a dishwasher, but avoid using it for antique silverware.

How to store silver

When not in use, store your silver in a small cabinet that is clean and dry. Storing it in a closed environment minimises the amount of air it comes in contact with, delaying the tarnishing process. Many cabinets have individual compartments for each piece (for example, those designed for silverware) and scratching can be avoided. If not, then roll the individual pieces in a cotton flannel cloth with an anti-tarnish finish. Do not store silver wrapped in plastic or newspaper, which may react chemically with silver to damage it. Silver pieces should be wrapped in tarnish-proof cotton flannel cloth and stored in plastic container not a cardboard box. Anti-tarnish cloth is available at fabric stores and can be purchased by the yard.



Spreading love through gifts, sweets
Muslims, Christians too join in the Divali celebrations
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 11
Beating the decades old trend, Muslims and Christians have also started celebrating the festival of lights. Distributing sweets and gifts, lights, exchanging greetings, sending emails, SMSes and bursting of crackers have become common among these communities.

A large number of families have illuminated their residential and commercial premises.

Amjad Ali, chairman of Sohrab Group of Educational Institutes and Industries, said he had already greeted all his friends and relatives, including Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. He added that he had also distributed sweets and gifts among workers and staff members of organisations being run by the trust.

Claiming that special dishes, including sweets and pakoras, had been ordered for the occasion, Ali said his wife and children would join their Hindu friends in celebrations on Divali.

"We do not find anything wrong in celebrating festivals of Hindus and Sikhs when we have been living and working with them for decades. I have advised heads of our educational institutes to ensure that students from all sections of society are told about the background of celebrating the festival, so that they can adopt teachings of Hindu deities in their lives," said Ali.

Regretting that leaders of certain radical groups had been trying to keep members of various communities apart, Munir Mohammad and Hamid Mohammad, social activists, said their children had already completed preparations for celebrating the festival.

"We motivated our children to participate in the celebrations because we remember how ill we felt when we used to be a silent spectator to the festival of lights," said Munir and Hamid.

Terming the trend to be facilitative for eradicating hatred from minds of members of different communities, R Masih, a Christian social activist, maintained that religious festivals such as Divali, Christmas, Eid and Gurpurabs were now being celebrated by members of almost all communities.

Divali, being a festival of fascination and enjoyment, was obvious to attract attention of members of all communities living together in India.

Mobile companies have also played an important role in connecting different communities on occasion of religious festivals.

"Our involvement in religious festivals, other than Eid, started when we received SMSes regarding festivals of Hindus and Sikhs and circulated them to our friends belonging to these communities. Now, we celebrate almost all festivals, including Divali and Dasehra, along with our friends and relatives," said Shaukat Ali while adding that his non-Muslim friends had been participating in Eid celebrations similarly.



Jewellers expect a brisk business
Say sales may increase by 35-40 per cent during wedding season
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Jewellers are expecting a 40 per cent increase in the gold sales on Dhanteras and high gold prices are unlikely to deter the spirits of the buyers. Dhanteras is a day considered auspicious for gold buying among the Hindu community.

"We are expecting an increase of 35-40 per cent. As post-Divali, the marriage season is going to start, the sales are expected to pick up," said Ram Parkash, a jeweller from Ghumar Mandi.

"However, in volume terms the growth is expected to be just 10 per cent, as consumers today are going in more for light weight jewellery. While the demand for coins has grown by 35-40 per cent," he added.

Mala Dhanda, owner of jewellery showroom at College Road, said, "The demand for diamond may fall but not gold. The yellow metal has a lot of religious value. While 20 per cent is bought for festivals, 80 per cent is for weddings. We are expecting a huge rush on Dhanteras as city people have a habit of celebrating every festival in a grand manner."

Another jeweller Arun Verma from Sarafan Bazar said, "The demand is here to stay till February since the peak wedding season will start from November to February. The demand for antique jewellery collection and also designer jewellery studded with a lot of kundan and stone works is high. Although there is a general anxiety about gold prices on a daily basis, it never deters customers from buying gold."

One of the store managers of a branded jewellery showroom at College Road said, "Gold is compulsion buying in Indian culture, no matter what the international prices are. Demand for kundan work and temple jewellery collections is at its peak and we have huge stocks."

Gold prices are likely to rule at Rs 31,000-35,500 level during the festive season but that will not deter the spirits of the Ludhianvis from buying the yellow metal. During Dhanteras the demand will be there for jewellery as people realise that gold will not go back to the previous year's level," said one of the trade pundits.

"However, in volume the jewellery demand will be a bit muted as people have options such as coins, bars and electronic traded funds (ETFs)," he added.



850 gm of gold coins sold
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
About 850 gram of gold coins worth Rs 30 lakh were sold in the post office today. There was a continuous stream of people coming to the Head Post Office for purchasing gold coins. Seeing the enthusiasm, the timings for opening the post office had to be extended by two hours.

The sales this year were way better, as about 500 grams of gold coins were sold on Dhanteras, last year, an official said. The sales would have been even better if the festival fell on a working day. Many people might not have come to the post office, presuming that being a Sunday, the post office would remain closed, he said.

"It is considered auspicious to purchase gold on Dhanteras, so we purchased the gold coins today," said Vinod Kumar, a resident.

It was time to shop, purchase precious metals and jewellery on the occasion of Dhanteras. Markets were abuzz with activity as people made purchases on the day.



It's time to strengthen bond
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
The corporate gift industry is flourishing and quality utility items at affordable prices are the mantra this festive season. Divali is the time which helps companies strengthen their relationship with clients and employees. The trend has witnessed an upsurge in the last few years and is no longer confined to the company's partners and associates. It has also become a way to motivate employees.

"Divali is the time when everybody wants to strengthen the bond, be it family, relatives, friends or even employers. Corporate gifting is a big market in itself and is booming with each passing year. Exclusive items at affordable prices are what consumers are looking for," said Nikhil from a super market store.

Corporates are opting for a mix and match of traditional and modern. Premium quality gifts at affordable prices is what they are looking for. Utility items and white goods are the most opted segment when it comes to corporate gifting," added Raman Verma from a crockery house.

Travel gears, leather accessories, spa coupons and hand crafted pens are gaining popularity.

Another option for high-end gifting at affordable price includes customised hampers containing a wine bottle and chocolates.

"Corporate companies are moving away from traditional items such as diaries and small electric appliances to aesthetic as well as utility pieces. The trend has also picked up among individual gifting. Nowadays, the corporate sector generally picks up silver trays, a pair of goblets, deities' gift sets, candle stands and dry fruit bowls," added Namita working in a corporate sector.

"The demand for corporate gifts has increased ten times in the past one year. The demand for customised packages has increased for corporate gifting," said Kapil Monga, dealing in corporate gifting ideas.



Now, file annual VAT return online
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
The Punjab excise and taxation department has decided that the annual VAT returns for 2011-12 will be received online in form VAT-20 through e-Return module being implemented by the department. The annual return will now be filed from December 1-31.

"No manual return in form VAT-20 will be received in the offices of the excise and taxation department after October 31, 2012," said A Venu Parsad, Excise and Taxation Commissioner in a public notice.

The annexures which are to accompany the VAT-20 shall be submitted after filing of the return to the respective AETC's in charge of the district. The annexures must be accompanied by the system generated acknowledgement of e-Return. "The last date for the activity shall be 4, January 2013," he stated.

"The dealers who have already filed their returns for the period need not file it again," he added.

The procedure for e-filing the annual VAT returns will be the same as the procedure prescribed for e-filing of the quarterly returns. The facility shall be available on the department's website www.pextax.com from December 1, 2012 onwards.

"The step taken by the department is appreciable but it should have informed us in advance as some are already through with the process of filing VAT returns. In addition, some points have been left unclear by the department. Submission of C forms remains unclear," added Jatinder Khurana, a tax professional.

"With an aim to make the department paperless it is a good step taken by the department. Now, there will be no need to make the round of the office," said Gulbagh Singh, an inter-state trader.



Temple jewellery a rage
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Temple jewellery is expected to become the flavour of marriage mania. The jewellery which used to adorn the idols was later worn by temple dancers and now the designs are becoming a part of the Indian woman's bridal jewellery trousseau.

It is generally large and chunky, with figures of various gods and goddesses in gold forming the pendant on pearl string necklaces.

"Today, temple jewellery has become a hit. During festivals and occasions, women wear temple jewellery, believed to be auspicious and offer good luck.

And now it is even being used for bridal collection. Embedded in rubies and emeralds, temple jewellery has come a long way," added Jyotika Bose, a jewellery designer. The favourite design for pendants is that of Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed god known to bestow good luck and good fortune. The other emblem, which is also, in demand, is that of the sacred syllable Om. "Not only Indians but these days the temple jewellery is also finding a flavour among foreigners too," added Bose.

"Temple jewellery has made its way into the world of trousseau and heirloom pieces.

And now I am all ready to adorn the same for my wedding," added Shruti, who is getting married next month. Vintage pieces which are centuries old were made entirely in gold, but over the years, pure silver dipped and coated in gold became the norm. Shiny rubies and emeralds are set in these pieces in attractive patterns that catch the eye.

Some pendants also resemble the "gopuram" or temple entrance towers in design and these are mainly studded with rubies. Clusters of pearls complete the pieces inspired by nature and various religious symbols.

"My mother has a pretty collection of temple jewellery which she has inherited and acquired over the years. The current trend of wearing temple jewellery has piqued my interest," added Anju Behl, another city resident.



Dry cleaner misplaces customer's designer attire
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Barely a few days before her wedding, a city resident has lodged a police complaint against a dry cleaner for allegedly selling an expensive designer suit, given for ironing. The woman was to wear the suit during a pre-wedding function. Narrating her ordeal, Divya Jain, who was to get married this month, said, “My mother-in-law had given me a designer suit for a function scheduled for November 14.”

Since the suit was packed and needed ironing, she gave it for ironing to White Tiger Dry Cleaner in Civil Lines.

“One Aman came and collected the suit from my residence in South City on November 8 and the same night he called up saying that he had misplaced the dress somewhere,” lamented Divya.

But her ordeal was not yet over. When she enquired how her suit was misplaced, the collection staff allegedly spoke rudely and told her not to call her again, she claimed.

She added, “I am sure these guys must have sold my suit somewhere. They know the loopholes and didn't give a slip at the time of collection saying they issued slips once the material reaches the shop.”

Collection guy caught on CCTV camera

However, the collection agent was caught on a CCTV camera installed in the house. The complainant has handed over the CCTV recording to the police.

“I have spoken to Divya's mother and the matter has been resolved,” said Aman from White Tiger Dry Cleaner



Fear of fire looms large over Mandi Ahmedgarh residents
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 11
In the wake of the failure of successive governments in setting up a fire brigade in the town, the residents will have to celebrate Divali under the fear of accidental fire. Although, the civil administration has earmarked special areas for the sale of crackers, none of the shopkeepers has come forward to organise vends at designated places.

As majority of the shopkeepers have set up godowns outside the town, the authorities have failed to take action against them. However, the administration is claiming to have made "sufficient" arrangements to meet any exigency.

Ravinder Puri, president, Municipal Council, claimed that the paraphernalia available with the organisation were updated for emergency use. "Though we have already initiated the process of having a fire brigade, yet under these circumstances we have requested the management of Shryans Industries Limited to lend their fire brigade in case of any emergency besides directing our staff to get water tanks ready," added Puri.

Dr Rajesh Garg, ophthalmologist at the local civil hospital, said sufficient arrangements had been made to handle cases of eye injuries, caused due to bursting of crackers.

The residents had suffered massive losses due to accidental fires during Divali days in the past years.



Dealers defy instructions
Sale of fireworks continues at unauthorised places in Jagraon
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 11
Notwithstanding the guidelines issued by the local administration regarding the sale of fireworks in the town, the sale of fireworks is continuing unchecked in majority of the areas of the town. Although, Jagraon SDM Gurmit Singh had allotted four specific locations for the sale of the crackers in the town to prevent occurrence of any unpleasant incident, yet their sale is going on unabated in various areas the town.

Notably, during a meeting with the local firecracker dealers some days ago, the local administration had sanctioned four locations for the sale of crackers in the town. The local administration has earmarked DAV College Road, Tehsil Road, Old Grain Market and Disposal Road for the purpose.

During the meeting, SDM Jagraon had directed the fireworks dealers to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the administration. However, the sale of crackers at unauthorised locations is continuing despite repeated warnings by the administration. The prominent places where the crackers are being sold at unsanctioned locations include Raikot Road, Lajpat Rai Road, Railway Road, Old City, Kamal Chowk, Rani Jhansi Chowk, Old Sabzi Mandi Road, Nehru Market and some other thickly populated areas, which were considered highly sensitive by the administration.



Horticulture Congress: Farmers go hi-tech
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Farmers of the state have gone hi-tech and are using modern techniques for communication and sharing ideas about agriculture. It was observed during an interaction session with farmers during the 5th Indian Horticultural Congress, which concluded recently. During the congress, some farmers gave presentations. Some of the farmers demanded to develop mobile software and CDs for better communication among farmers and experts.

Davinderpal Singh, a farmer, said, "I have learnt that we cannot encourage the old farmers towards diversification of crops. There is a need to interact with the young farmers for the change. So we should adopt new communication techniques for the interaction. Farmers do not show interest in books. So we need to make CDs and mobile software to communicate the new agricultural techniques."

Meanwhile, Major Manmohan Singh, a farmer, shared his experiences of diversification through a power point presentation.

Manmohan Singh said, "In case of natural calamity, there is no compensation for farmers who go for horticulture. There is a lack of processing facilities for horticultural produce." Stressing that the farmers should be provided with accurate weather forecasting, he said different business projects should be encouraged to set uo processing units and promotion of export. "Besides, there should be heavy subsidy on solar motors," he suggested.



Members of knitwear club to visit Pakistan
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
If Pakistan's cotton produce and India's machinery get together they will be able to produce a wonder product. Since Pakistan is known for its cotton production and knitwear industry from the city will be soon visiting Pakistan to learn about the fabric.

Divulging details, Vinod Thapar, chairman of the Knitwear Club, said recently they met Pakistan minister Muhammad Akram Ansari during his visit to India and he invited the knitwear industry to Pakistan and strengthen the business ties with the nation. Ansari is the president of Standing Committee on Textile Industry.

“We will be going to Pakistan by year-end,” said Vinod Thapar, chairman of the Knitwear Club.

“We are good manufacturers and they are good producers and if both of us join hands we can produce product par excellence,” added Thapar.



Ludhiana scan
Office-bearer elected

Rajinder Sharma was elected as the president of Shivpuri Mandal for the second consecutive term. The BJP and Hindu Jagriti Morcha workers hailed the election result and congratulated Sharma on the occasion. The workers expressed hope of good performance by Sharma .

‘Serve the needy’

Instead of bursting crackers, the residents must serve the poor and needy. Gurdeep Singh Gosha, leader of the Youth Akali Dal, expressed these views while elaborating on the festival of lights here on Sunday. He said there was no dearth of money but there was a need to spend the money for a noble cause. — TNS



Convention on Punjabi language organised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
A convention on Punjabi language was organised by Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha at Punjabi Bhawan today. Dr Surjit Singh Bhatti and Dr Joga Singh presented papers on the language. Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Punjab, Dr SS Johl, was also present on the occasion.

Dr Bhatti said mother language played an important role in the development of the personality of a person. It was crucial for the development of society, he added.

Dr Johl said considering other languages superior to your mother tongue was a sign of slavery. "Every Punjabi should teach their children Punjabi language, their history and culture," he said. There was a need to write interesting literature in the language, he said. One of the guests present on the occasion said when politicians got power, they did not bother about the development of the language.



Memorial lecture, poetry session held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
A memorial lecture and poetry session dedicated to Punjabi poet Sant Ram Udasi was organised at the Punjabi Bhawan today. It was organised by Sant Ram Udasi Likhari Sabha in association with the Kendri Likhari Sabha and the Punjabi Sahit Akademi.

Dr Surjit Singh Bhatti delivered a speech about the life and writings of the poet and the uniqueness of his work. He said that the poet wrote in favour of the downtrodden and became their voice.

He wrote about the never say die spirit and the reason for struggle, he added.

A poetry session was also organised . Various poets from the state participated in the session and two calendars were also released. One calender was dedicated to the poet and the other was dedicated to Gursharan Bhaji, who passed away a few months back.



3 killed in road accidents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Three deaths were reported in three different incidents in the city today. In the first case, a person was hit by a speeding vehicle on the elevated bridge near Tyre Market. The victim sustained severe injuries and was admitted to the CMCH, Ludhiana. Later, he died at the hospital.

In another incident, Nirmal Singh, the victim, died on the spot after being hit by a speeding vehicle. The incident took place when he was hit by a speeding vehicle near Lohara Bridge at Sidhwan Canal. A case has been registered against Manoj Parahar, driver of the vehicle.

In another incident, a three-wheeler hit a boy near Sherpur Market. The victim sustained serious injuries. He was rushed to Kesar Hospital where he succumbed to injuries. A case has been registered against the accused.



Gang of fraudsters busted

Ludhiana, November 11
With the arrest of a woman, the city police claimed to have busted a gang of fraudsters, who was involved in duping businessmen, today. According to the police, the gang used to visit industrial areas and convince the industrialists of getting easy loans by opening accounts in HDFC bank.

The Police said after receiving an information the accused Sushma and her accomplices Abhishek and Deepak Kumar were nabbed when they were going to open an account with HDFC bank in Sector 32. The matter came into light when someone duped Lakh Inder Pal Singh, a factory owner, of Rs 5 lakh by posing as an HDFC employee.

On investigating the matter, the police found that Sushma Sharma had opened a fake account in the name of Varsha Garg. — TNS



Man gets 6-yr term for reckless driving

Ludhiana, November 11
Judicial Magistrate Monika Chouhan has convicted a bus driver, Gurdev Singh of Mahalpur village, Samrala, for reckless driving. He was sentenced to a six-month imprisonment, besides a fine of Rs 500. He was booked under Sections 279, 427 of IPC at the Sahnewal police station on June 18, 2008, following the complaint of Balraj Singh of Jandiali. — OC



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